Extended Breastfeeding - Kalamazoo,MI

Updated on January 11, 2013
J.K. asks from Kalamazoo, MI
17 answers

For moms that did extended breastfeeding, I am wondering how often your toddler nursed and what your breastfeeding relationship was or is like. My little one just turned 1 and I feel like he is still nursing quite often. He now gets 3 meals a day and some snacks, but this has not decreased how often he nurses. I still nurse him on demand anytime he wants, but I was hoping by this age that he would start wanting it a little less often.

Also I would love some tips on how to teach him some nursing manners. If he isnt given the boob exactly when he wants it, he is starting to throw fits. Not very desirable behavior. I take an ergo carrier with a nursing hood with us when we go out in case he wants to nurse. We ran into sams club the other day for a few things so I didnt bring it in. So of course he decided that he wanted a drink while we were in there and started yelling and clawing at my breasts, trying to pull my shirt down. I think hes big enough now we should be able to run errands without him having to be breastfed, and I certainly dont want him throwing fits over it in public.

How often were your babies nursing at 1 yr old, and how can I start teaching him some nursing manners? I would love to continue nursing him, but would love to be doing it a little less often. Im starting to feel like a 24 hr snack machine.

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So What Happened?

I guess at this point, Im looking to move from on demand to more of a schedule. Im not sure how to make that transition. This baby is addicted to the boob, lol. Thanks for all the ideas, I think I need to start keeping snacks and a cup for him in my bag for when we go out.

More Answers



answers from Columbia on

I'm not sure this is a breastfeeding issue. I think this is a manners issue, and I would separate them and treat them as such. Certainly you have the right, the ability and the responsibility to claim your body as your own.... even though you are still providing nutrition for your son.

I would like to offer this..... you can't say that you are going to "nurse on demand" and then be unhappy when HE doesn't agree with your schedule, however. That's not fair to him.
Think of it this way..... giving in to EVERYTHING your son wants (by continuing to feed "on demand") isn't actually even healthy for him. It's teaching him that there are no limits and he will grow up to learn he will be indulged.
I think (I assume) that your intent for extended breastfeeding is to continue the bond you have with your son and let him know that you will meet his needs.


I think there can be a balance. You can still provide him with the nutrients and physicality of extended breastfeeding, but provide some structure that works for you.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I nursed till my son was 2.5 years old. I gradually removed the "least important" nursing times and told him that he was getting bigger and eating big kid food and that I didn't have enough milk for all the time. I told him that mommy's body made a lot of milk for when he was a tiny baby, but that as he got bigger, it would make less because he needed big kid food. I would also tell him he could have a drink and snuggle - it's as much about closeness as about the milk.

Start teaching him rules when he's not nursing. Mommy can't nurse when you're not at home because he's too big now, but he can always have hugs. Tantrums do not get nursing. If he has a tantrum about it, then time out or whatever you do. Gentle and honest at his level of communicating.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I nursed both my kids and they self-weaned, which was my choice.

My firstborn, self-weaned at about 2-2.5 years old.
My 2nd child at about 1 year old.
Now, per my eldest child... as a child gets older, they naturally nurse less. Your body then adjusts to that. AS the child gets older, (like for me at close to 2 years old) I just would mention to her in a lighthearted way that one day she won't need to nurse etc. And in time, on her own, she just nursed less. It was never a battle for me or her.
AND I also taught my daughter, NEVER just pull up my blouse, it is MOMMY's boobs not hers, to ask first and be polite, etc. And it was no problem. Or at times, I would tell her "Wait a minute, Mommy is busy...." and then I was busy and would not sit down. And she'd wait or just forget about it.

You just TELL your child, what your rules are about it.
That's what I did.

OR, you have a bottle of milk for him while out.

If your son is having fits about it, you need to discipline him.
Tell him NO.
OR, you nurse him before going out, or before leaving the car. AND you teach him, that you do this BEFORE going out. Make it a routine. A kid learns routines.

OR give him a sippy of water, while out. Or of whole milk, while out. And again, you teach him, this is the "routine" while out.

With both my kids, I nursed on demand. But after 1-1.5 years old, I would not be so much on demand. If I was busy I would tell them "hang on, Mommy is busy..." and so they don't get all demanding about it. And also teaching them manners about it. They learn. You just need to tell them.

Both my kids had GINORMOUS appetites and grew like weeds and I had ample milk. But, as they got older I just instilled "routines" about it.

By 1 year old and over, you don't have to nurse RIGHT then. Its okay if they have to wait a bit.

Anyway, both my kids self-weaned. That is what I chose to do with them. Even my Husband was "proud" of me. He knew breastfeeding was arduous. And many of my friends, also let their kids self-wean.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

My daughter will be three at the beginning of May and I am still nursing her. I don't remember exactly, but I think at 12 months I was still nursing on demand. I made feeble attempts at "manners", but mostly I just choose to nurse in the privacy of my own home where we can be natural.

I would like to be done, but my toddler in NO WAY wants to be done. I try to limit her to morning, before nap, after nap, and nighttime (and once during the night IF she wakes up) but sometimes it's less, and sometimes it's more.

I think, also, the only reason I want to be done is because my mother has been against this extended nursing since my child turned about 18 months, and I know it made her uncomfortable this summer when my parents were here on vacation. This June we will be going to our family reunion and my mom will feel SOOOO embarrassed and humiliated if my toddler demands to be fed in front of her family. I know this is an awful reason to stop, but I have tried everything I can to educate her and she just comes from a generation where you didn't give a baby a breast past about six months.


Funny for you...okay, she calls my boobs "feed yous" because we have always said "Mommy feed you?" to her, so she still says, "Mommy, feed you?" instead of "Mommy, feed me" or something else. Okay, so my husband came out to the kitchen the other morning without any shirt on and my toddler looks at him, and exclaims..."DADDY...YOU HAVE FEED YOUS!" Oh my...I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed...yup, he could probably lose 20 lbs or so. ;)

Congrats on the extended nursing. Sorry if I wasn't any help, but I am in it with you!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

by 1.. my son was nursing am, pm and before nap. we only nursed in his bedroom upstairs dim lights...

we never nursed in public..

he never asked in public as it never happened in public ever.

get him used to nursing at home.. tell him no later.. he will ge the idea..
my son continued till he was 3... but only at night..

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter was bottle fed...I was young!!!

My oldest son nursed until he was 28 months. We nursed in the AM, nap time and bed time. The one time he started pulling at my shirt and pawing at my breasts - i told him - NO. That is NOT acceptable. and did NOT give in. I NEVER had a shortage of milk. I wet-nursed my girlfriends kids and had milk for them....

My youngest son - stopped nursing at 15 months - if even THAT long...maybe 12 months - he just STOPPED. Unlike with his brother - I was struggling to keep up.

You need to be firm and set the boundaries for breast feeding. We just watched the movie "Grown Ups" last night - and when you said "pawing at the breast" I thought of that!! :)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I agree with the others that this is a manners issue not a nursing issue. If you are still nursing on demand, it would be expected that he would put up a fight when you refuse because you never refused him before. That expectation will not just turn off at a certain age, I think, you need to ease him into it. I nursed on demand when he was an infant but by a year, I think, we were nursing about 4 x a day maybe more on weekends. I worked during the week and pumped a few cups of milk for him for day time. I was not really a public nurser (no judgment for other nursing mothers - my choice – and anyone else can nurse where they want) so I taught him "not now, later" before a year. Of course the first few times you turn them down, they are not thrilled about it but at that age, I knew he was not hungry. Since he was actually drinking water and eating food snacks. I comforted him in other ways - hug, bounce, cuddle, sing etc. It did not take long, and he learned that sometimes I would say, later and he got over it and was fine. Like you said, sometimes they use you as a pacifier. I continued until he was 19 months. Before we stopped, we were only nursing first thing in the am, afternoon and bedtime. If you are happy doing on demand nursing now, do it. It really is all up to you. If you want him to do it less, then you need to pick times to refuse, stick to your guns and love him and comfort him in different ways when you refuse. It just takes some time and patience but you will get there.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I'd talk to him, he's breastfed so you KNOW he's smart and can understand you, right? "You can't have any "sucky" right now, hang on a few minutes until we get home.." As long as you don't lie to him, he will learn to trust what you say is true and he wont become all "needy". He will ween soon enough, just keep him busy and distracted. After age one most of their need for nursing is "habit" and not necessity since we start introducing solids. Anything after a year is icing on the cake for both child and mom.
He's smart and it's time for you to teach him some "discipline". What if you were NOT a breastfeeding mom.. what if you took a bottle with you and your child drank it already and there was none left in the bottle?" Would you stop what you were doing and cater to your -who by the way is not dying of starvation by any means- child OR show "maturity" by finishing the task at hand without a flinch and making child learn patience?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

My daughter nursed until 34 months, my son until his 4th birthday, so my definition of extended nursing may be a little different than most. :-) Bravo for you, mom - extending the time you nurse extends the immune protections and nutritional benefits that come from nursing, as well as continued bonding.

Anyhow, I think many who have already responded are on the right track. Your son is old enough to begin learning basic manners. Feeding him on demand is no longer necessary. If he is eating regular food, he no longer needs a breast whenever he wants one. It's time to gently but firmly lay down some ground rules. First of all, unless you are out all day, I think you can make nursing an "at home" only activity. If your son is hungry or thirsty while you are in public, offer him water and a snack, and tell him that you'll nurse him when you get home. Then follow through. He'll learn to understand that he can wait and to trust you and your words. Next, teach him to ask you before trying to crawl down your shirt. My daughter spoke late, but easily learned to sign "milk please." My son was able to ask verbally at a year. If they tried to force me into it, I simply said no and put them down. They learned to ask very quickly. I also taught them to wait if I was cooking or otherwise engaged. Gradually we developed a pattern that worked for us - first 4x/day, then 3, then 2, then 1, then done. We substituted snuggle times for the feedings we dropped. It's funny and sweet - my now 8 y.o. still comes to get morning snuggles and 4 p.m. snuggles daily. I don't think he remembers that those were his favorite nursing times.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Both my daughter and son were still nursing on demand all day long at 1 year. They naturally started nursing less after about 18 months. My friend's 17 month old still nurses on demand around the clock. I think it is normal to still want it frequently at that age. That said, if you feel the need to nurse less than there are gentle ways to do it. Maybe bring a snack on outings or a drink. Babies don't understand to wait when they are thirsty or hungry. Or could his demanding to nurse be his way of telling you he wants physical contact with you? When you are out he may be getting held and cuddled less than when at home (in the car seat, then in the shopping cart) and want to be close to you. Nursing is the only way he knows to ask to get that need met.

The clawing at your breasts is a different problem. I assume your baby is nonverbal. He has no way to politely ask to nurse. You could try teaching him something that is acceptable to you (some kind of sign or physical signal that he is capable of doing) instead of reaching for your breast. Every time before you nurse model the new sign and help him do it. He should catch on quickly at this age.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

My baby is 20 mths old and she nurses quite often throughout the day. I can't quite put a number on it but it is often but she is eating of course, and I offer her Almond Breeze (original) in a Nuby sippy cup with her meals. When we are out, I expect her to want to nurse and depending on where we are, I nurse her on demand. I do have a carrier (no cover up) that I will carry her around in so she can have access to my breast when she wants it. I have 4 children and I taught my children to tap my chest when they want milk. When my baby wants milk, she begins tapping my chest and sometimes she digs in my shirt when she is impatient but I don't mind. When you know that you have to run errands, try nursing your baby before you leave the house as this may help with her need to "snack" while you are running short errands. A baby understands. When my baby is getting impatient, I just softly tell her that I know she wants mommy's milk and that she will get it very soon. I agree that short runs to the store should entitle you to not have to breastfeed, but if you are grocery shopping or taking more time than expected, say longer than an hour, you might consider a sippy cup IF you are not wanting to nurse in public. Otherwise, just put your baby in a carrier and let her have access to your breast that way. Mine almost always drifts to sleep this way and makes my running through a store easier.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My son nursed until he was almost 3. Around age one I began to nurse only at specific times. If he asked outside of those times I offered a sippy cup, tickles and cuddles. I don't think a 1 year old can truly understand what "being polite" is but they can learn to respond to cues.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Both of my daughters nursed every 2 hours when they were awake until a year old (both took 2 naps a day and slept through the night long before a year). My oldest I started cutting feeds right after her birthday and she self weaned completely at 18 months. My second I didn't start cutting feeds until she was about 17 months and she didn't self wean completely until she was over 2. With both girls though, once I started to cut feedings, we stopped nursing in public places. We would only nurse at home or at family and close friends' houses. To replace the feeds when we were out I always had water and finger foods and if I knew we would be gone for an extended time I would plan for them to have cows milk in place of the nursing. Neither one ever really questioned the new "policy" and were generally amenable to water and a snack with the explanation we would have milk when we got home. I also stopped bringing my nursing sling which helped a lot too (my 2 year old still associates my sling with "mommy milk").

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

You'll likely see a little "self weaning" pretty soon. Around 18 months lots of kids start to diminish the frequency of nursing sessions.

Despite some of these comments, you do not have to do anything. Just follow your gut, one is very young still. If he's bugging you and you feel he isn't really hungry and you don't want to BF him try redirecting his attention.

With both my girls they starting nursing less as their second birthday drew near I was ready to quit too so I just offered food, redirected or said we'll BF later. The last to go was right before bedtime, first thing in the morning and if they hurt themselves. By two we were essentially done.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fargo on

My baby is 15 months and starting to wean i think. At a year, i quite pumping and she got sippy cups of whole milk. I was still nursing about 4 x a day at 12 months. Now, its just am and pm and occasionally a third time. This week she's nursed very shortly at all nursing sessions....so im not sure if she's weaning or just taking a little break haha (she did this before and then picked back up).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I nursed to 17 months but I didn't consider it extended nursing. Maybe it is? I don't know! I only quit because another baby was on the way. During errands we always used water in a cup, or I'd go into a restroom and nurse (though that was more rare). I am not one to nurse in public; it's not me.

The next baby will nurse until age 2, and after that I think I'm OK stopping.
I realized breastfeeding was beneficial to mom and baby and knew at least a year was my minimum, but I just read a book about that (and other things womb related), and I didn't realize how important it was to set the child up for not dying of X,Y, or Z at over 60 years of age. It just...really made me think. I'm glad I read it and glad I did the nursing with all our kids at least one year. Except one I had to stop at 10 months because he REFUSED to go back after 2 weeks of bottle (I had unexpected surgery and meds). I regret that whole situation and will forever. But he did at least get 10 months of it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You have to start training him not to do this, Mom, just like you have to train him to stop doing other inappropriate things. Start with telling him AT HOME that he has to wait. No more "on demand" nursing. It is time for him to realize that he cannot have what he wants when he wants it.

Moms have to do this about everything with their kids. Extended breastfeeding is no different. Don't give in. Be "busy" and don't give him the breast until he has stopped having a fit and is doing something else. It will be hard at first, but it will help you. When he comes over and starts pulling on your shirt, get up and walk away and tell him that he may not pull on Mommy's shirt. Let him have his temper tantrum. Ignore him. When he's done with his tantrum, he needs to do something else for a little bit, and then YOU come to him and tell him it's time to nurse.

You should not be a 24 hour snack machine. He needs to learn to drink from a cup, if he hasn't already. He needs to be drinking milk too. I'd really come down to 3 nursings a day and none at night.

It's certainly your decision about how much to nurse, but unless you really stand up for yourself here, it's going to be a hard adjustment for you both.

Good luck,

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